A bubble that rises, and shines, and bursts!

(John Angell James, "Redeeming Time" 1825)

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as fools
 but as wise, redeeming the time, because the
 days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Paul implies that a man can give no greater proof
of folly, nor more effectually act the part of a fool,
than to waste his time. While on the other hand,
a just appreciation and right improvement of time
are among the brightest displays of true wisdom.

We must value time correctly, and improve it diligently.

Time is the most precious thing in the world. God
distributes time miserly--by the moment--and He
never promises us another moment! We are to highly
value, and diligently to improve the present moment,
by the consideration that for anything we know, it
may be our last.

Time, when once gone, never returns. Where is
A moment once lost, is lost forever!

We should never forget that our time is among the talents
for which we must give account at the judgment of God.
We must be tried not only for what we have done--but for
what we neglected to do. Not only for the hours spent in
sin--but for those wasted in idleness. Let us beware of
wasting time.

It might stir us up to diligence in the improvement of our
time, to think how much of it has been already misspent.
What days, and weeks, and months, and years, have
already been utterly wasted, or exhausted upon trifles
totally unworthy of them. They are gone, and nothing
remains of them but the guilt of having wasted them.
We cannot call them back if we would. Let us learn to
value more highly, and to use more kindly, those days
which remain.

How much of our time is already gone--and how little
may be yet to come? The sands of our hour-glass may
be almost out! Death may be at the door!

When you begin a day, you don't know that you shall end it!
When you lie down, you don't know that you shall rise up!
When you leave your house, you don't know that you shall
ever return!

For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appears for
a little while and then vanishes! Life is a bubble that rises,
and shines, and bursts!
We know not in any one period of
our existence--but that it may be the last. Surely, surely,
we should then improve our time, when we may be holding,
for anything we know, the last portion of it in our hands!

You are immortal creatures, and must live forever in torment
or in bliss! And certainly you cannot be forming a right
estimate of the value of time, nor be rightly employing it,
if the soul be forgotten, salvation neglected, and eternity
left out of consideration!